Earlier this week, a tweet claiming TikTok had blocked users from sharing the #blacklivesmatter hashtag went viral.

The tweet, which also suggested every tag related to George Floyd – for example, #georgefloydprotest and #georgefloydmattered – sparked outrage on social media, with many calling for users to boycott TikTok.

It comes after Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, after Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck during an arrest until he lost consciousness.

Protests have since broken out across the city, with hundreds demanding that the four officers involved in Floyd’s death – who have since been fired but not arrested – are brought to justice for their actions.

George Floyd protests
George Floyd protests

Many who are unable to take part in the protests themselves have taken to social media to speak out against the injustice of the situation, using the hashtags mentioned above, in an attempt to get the message out there.

Yet those attempting to share such hashtags on TikTok posts found they had zero views across the platform, meaning those particular hashtags – and the posts using them – weren’t being circulated.

This led high-profile users such as actor and activist Rachel Zegler to speak out against the platform, demanding answers and threatening to delete the app unless it rectified the problem.

After describing TikTok’s failure to circulate the posts as ‘obvious racism’, Zegler urged the platform to ‘do better’, before threatening: ‘Or we’re gone.’

She continued:

You have the opportunity to spread awareness right now, as an extremely popular social media app. But instead you perpetuate oppression by not promoting amazing black creators… and now this?

Pretty clear where your loyalty lies. Racism is a serious problem. It isn’t new, and we’re all in this together, as we are the ones responsible.

TikTok has since responded to the claims that it is blocking these specific hashtags, with a spokesperson telling UNILAD they ‘are aware of an issue that is impacting the hashtag view counts displayed at the upload stage’.

The spokesperson continued:

This appears to affect words at random, including terms like #cat and #hello. Our team is investigating and working quickly to address the issue.

Since the tweet in question went viral, some users have reported being able to find videos using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag, while others still have been able to post using the tag. However, some users are still unable to do so.

Hopefully the issue will be resolved soon and all of those voices protesting the injustice of the situation will be able to be heard.

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